CORVALLIS, Ore. - Dawn Wright, a professor of geography and oceanography at Oregon State University, has received the 2012 Presidential Achievement Award from the Association of American Geographers.

Wright, a nationally recognized expert in geographic information systems, is on a two-year leave from OSU to serve as chief scientist for the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), a leading company in providing GIS software and services to hundreds of thousands of organizations worldwide, including most of the world's governments.

Known as "Deepsea Dawn" for her work in mapping and studying the deep ocean, Wright has numerous achievements and awards. Last year, she was named an Aldo Leopold Fellow; in 2007, she was named Oregon Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation; she went to Ireland on a Fulbright fellowship; and she has been featured in a National Science Foundation series on women oceanographers.

Wright's research interests include geographic information science, ocean floor habitat and terrain, tectonics of mid-ocean ridges, and the interpretation of high-resolution bathymetry and underwater videography/photography. She has studied the recovery of coral reefs and other seafloor habitats after tsunamis and other extreme events.

Also receiving a 2012 AAG Presidential Achievement Award is Laura Pulido of the University of Southern California. Both scientists will receive their awards at the annual meeting of the association in New York City this February.

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Dawn Wright, 909-793-2853, ext. 2182